Gor Mahia legend expresses concern over Harambee Stars team selection


FOOTBALL Gor Mahia legend expresses concern over Harambee Stars team selection

Festus Chuma 17:00 - 30.08.2023

The legend has criticized Harambee Stars' squad selection, highlighting exclusion of top local clubs' players for upcoming matches.

Gor Mahia legend Maurice 'Sonyi' Ochieng has voiced his concerns about the recent squad selection for the Harambee Stars in the upcoming international friendlies against Qatar and South Sudan scheduled for next month.

This concern arises after head coach Engin Firat made the unexpected decision to omit players from Gor Mahia, AFC Leopards, and Tusker from the team's lineup.

Sonyi, a prominent figure in Gor Mahia's history, strongly believes that teams of such stature should have a more significant representation in the national team. 

The 75-year old contends that a minimum of eight players from these top-tier clubs should have been included, as has been the tradition in the past.

"Somebody should advise that coach. If we want to foster the growth of Kenyan football, we could form a national team that includes players from the three biggest clubs: Gor Mahia, Tusker and AFC Leopards,” he said in an interview with Pulse Sports.

The absence of local talents in the national team lineup, according to Sonyi, could prove detrimental to the overall development of football in Kenya. 

The former striker stresses the importance of providing opportunities for local players to learn and improve, especially with the upcoming 2025 African Nations Championships qualifiers in sight.

 "Not having many local players on the national team is detrimental to our football development. Local players deserve the opportunity to learn and improve if Kenya aims to build a strong team for the upcoming 2025 African Nations Championships," he added.

Sonyi has also questioned the rationale behind the last-minute inclusion of Austin Odhiambo from Gor Mahia while leaving out other deserving players. 

The former Kenya international believes that Gor Mahia's impressive track record and its talented players justify a more thoughtful consideration.

 "Simply calling up Austin Odhiambo at the last minute to join the national team is insufficient. Gor Mahia earned their title on merit and possesses some talented players who are even better than certain foreign-based players," he concluded.

As the squad gears up to report for camp on Sunday, September 3, 2023, the spotlight remains on Coach Firat's decision.

The coach has notably chosen to include only seven local-based players in the squad, including Byrne Odhiambo (KCB), Patrick Matasi (Kenya Police FC), David Ochieng (Kenya Police), Abdallah Hassan (Bandari), Moses Shummah (Kakamega Homeboyz), and Elvis Rupia (Kenya Police).